After days of mulling over the choice of chief minister of Uttarakhand, the BJP on Friday named Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, for the post. The decision came after the conclusion of a legislature party meeting here on Friday, where consent was drawn from the party MLAs on Mr. Rawat's name as the State's ninth Chief Minister.
Mr. Rawat (56), who is elected from the Doiwala seat, is known to have close links with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. He built a place for himself in national politics after he worked alongside Mr. Shah in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Convener of ‘Namami Gange’
He is currently the convener of the Modi government’s flagship programme for Ganga cleanup, the ‘Namami Gange’ programme. Mr. Rawat is also the party in charge in Jharkhand. A former RSS pracharak, Mr. Rawat worked under senior BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh Lalji Tandon in his early days in politics. When Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in the year 2000, Mr. Rawat was the party’s Uttarakhand general secretary (organisation). He won the 2002 and 2007 State Assembly polls from the Doiwala seat. He became a Cabinet minister when, in the 2007 Assembly polls, the BJP formed its government here. However, this was followed by two debacles when he lost the 2012 Assembly polls from the Raipur seat, and the 2014 by-elections to the Doiwala seat to the Congress. “He [Rawat] was a snooty individual… That’s probably the reason why he couldn’t garner votes in the two polls. However, the debacles brought a noticeable change in him and now he’s much better while dealing with people,” a highly placed source in the BJP told The Hindu . Another source in the BJP said, “It’s difficult to overpower Trivendra ji and that’s what the party’s central leadership needs for Uttarakhand… The bureaucracy needs to be put under control and Trivendra ji is fit for the job.” However, keeping the 57 MLAs intact is going to remain a challenge for Mr. Rawat. “Keeping the MLAs  intact, 11 of whom had crossed over from the Congress to the BJP few months before the polls, is going to be a challenge for Mr. Rawat,” the source said.